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Tenderheaded: A Comb-Bending Collection of Hair Stories

Ranging from the shaving of newborns to the coiffing of the dead, from the anecdotal to the scholarly, and from antebellum America to contemporary Africa, this remarkable array of writings and images illuminates black women's hair and its cultural meaning.
Tenderheaded: A Comb-Bending Collection of Hair Stories
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What could make a smart woman ignore doctor's orders?

What could get a hardworking employee fired from her job?

What could get a black woman in hot water with her white boyfriend?

In a word...

HAIR.

When does a few ounces feel like a few tons? When a doctor advises a black woman to start an exercise program and she wonders how she can do it without breaking a sweat. When an employer fires her for wearing a cultural hairstyle that's "unprofessional," and she has to go to court to plead for her job. When she's with her man, and the moment she's supposed to let loose, she stops to secure her head scarf so he doesn't disturb the 'do.

TENDERHEADED?

Yes, definitely. All black women are, in one way or another.

The issue is not only about looking good, but about feeling adequate in a society where the beauty standards are unobtainable for most women. "Tenderheaded" boldly throws open the closet where black women's skeletons have been threatening to burst down the door. In poems, essays, cartoons, photos, and excerpts from novels and plays, women and men speak to the meaning hair has for them, and for society. In an intimate letter, A'Leila Perry Bundles pays tribute to her great-grandmother, hair-care pioneer Madam C.J. Walker, who launched a generation of African-American businesswomen. Corporate consultant Cherilyn "Liv" Wright interviews men and women on the hilarious ways they handle "the hair issue" between the sheets. Art historian Henry John Drewal explores how hairstyles, in Yoruba culture, indicate spiritual destiny, and activist Angela Davis questions how her message of revolution got reduced to a hairstyle.

"Tenderheaded" is as rich and diverse as the children of the African diaspora. With works by Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, bell hooks, Henry Louis Gates Jr., and other writers of passion, persuasion, and humor — this is sure to be one of the most talked-about books of the year.
Juliette Harris is the editor of International Review of African-American Art, published by Hampton University Museum in Virginia. She has also written award-winning television and film documentaries. Pamela Johnson is a former senior editor of and a current columnist for Essence magazine. She is the author of the novel Santa and Pete, which was adapted for a TV movie.
"Ought to be at the top of everyone's must-read list." - ESSENCE MAGAZINE "A remarkable array of writings and images illuminates black women's hair and its cultural meaning..." - Publishers Weekly "An outstanding volume!" - Boston Herald
Publisher
Washington Square Press
Language
English
ISBN-10
0671047566
ISBN-13
9780671047566
Media
Book
Format
Paperback
DEWEY
810.803
Illustrations
Yes
Year
2002
Publication Date
2002-02-28
Author
Pamela Johnson
Pages
320
Illustrator
Ntozake Shange
Short Title
TENDERHEADED REV/E
Edition Description
Revised
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